Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday expressed his thanks to Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for his public endorsement of Chen’s medical parole request and applauded Hau for his courage and vision in raising the issue.
Chen’s son, Chen Chi-chung (陳致中), yesterday visited his father in prison and said the former president praised Hau for “possessing the character and manners of a national leader” by proposing to grant him medical parole.
“My father said Mayor Hau’s proposal would promote social reconciliation and reduce political confrontation,” Chen Chi-chung said, adding that the former president has written a letter to Hau expressing his gratitude.
Chen Shui-bian is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term on corruption charges. During his period of incarceration, he has complained about several physical ailments, including chest pains.
Hau said on Tuesday that releasing Chen on parole for medical treatment could help bring harmony to Taiwanese society.
Responding to Chen Shui-bian’s statement, Hau yesterday played down the political impact and said that he aimed to end social and political divides through the proposal.
“I support the proposal for former president Chen to be granted medical parole ... I hope [it] can help heal scars and end political confrontation. It’s not only about helping the former president,” he said.
Medical parole for Chen Shui-bian would serve as the first step to more positive interaction between the pan-blue and pan-green camps, he said, calling for the two camps to cooperate and focus time and energy on economic issues.
Hau said that his endorsement of Chen Shui-bian’s medical parole was not intended to be a political move connected to a presidential bid in the 2016 presidential elections.
As one of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) potential 2016 presidential candidates, Hau’s comments have sparked a heated discussion as his stance strays from the official party line. There are rumors that Hau may stand in the KMT’s chairman elections next year which would pit him against President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).